He may face crowds on a regular basis, but Brendan Morrison appeared self-conscious with all the attention in his honour Saturday morning at the Pitt Meadows arena.
Fans from around the Lower Mainland were in attendance as dignitaries, family and friends helped unveil a wood carving by Campbell River artist Glenn Greensides celebrating Morrison.
In his speech, Morrison thanked the artist, "for the amazing job he did."
Regional and national politicians expressed their appreciation of what Morrison has done for amateur sports both within and outside of the community.
"He is a hometown hero, a product of Ridge Meadows," noted Maple Ridge mayor, Ernie Daykin. "Thank you for being a great role model for our kids and for our community, in all you do."
It was a 2010 Legacy project by the Mountain Festival Society that drove the creation of the carving in Morrison's honour and the one unveiled last year at Planet Ice honouring Cam Neely. The event to celebrate Morrison's contributions was on hold until the Pitt Meadows arena renovations were complete.
"This carving is all about community and spirit, and celebrating someone from Pitt Meadows for his achievement as a high-profile athlete," said Cheryl Johnson of the Mountain Festival Society.
Local woodcrafter and Ridge Meadows native, Frank Beck owner of Beckville Woodcrafts, donated the backdrop, top and bottom structure of both carvings.
"I think it's just our way of giving back to the community," Beck said. "If everyone gave a little bit to the community it would be a lot better."
"We had the carving stored in our plant for about a year," noted Norm Wiebe, draftsman with Beckville. "It was a big secret. Not many people knew."
The 1,200 pound carving was installed at the arena prior to the event and was left covered until the unveiling.
"It's pretty overwhelming, to be honest," said Morrison of the commotion at the event. He even noted that it seemed odd to be, "nervous in front of a couple hundred people when you work in front of 25,000."
It was obvious Morrison considers Pitt Meadows his hometown given his comments about the community during a presentation. He also honoured his coaches, family, and teammates as he spoke.
"You need to believe anything is possible," he said in encouragement of the younger members of the audience. "You need to have support along the way. My mom, dad and sister have been on this journey with me 100 per cent since day one."
After the formal presentations, Morrison spent time with fans for autographs and a meet and greet.
In his speech honouring Morrison, Maple Ridge - Mission MLA Marc Dalton summed up the spirit of the event: "Thank you for the example that you are to young people. Particularly here in Pitt Meadows."